Patron Blog #8: I’m Back!

Coming Back

So much has happened since I last wrote, but I think I want to start off by talking a little bit about why I haven’t written in so long.

Even though a lot of what I write on this blog is silly personal stuff or little observations or reviews, and I know I’m not actually making a career of it (yet), I do still feel this kind of intense pressure when it comes to writing. I feel like I’m going to mess up, or I’m going to look at the blank page (or in the case of WordPress, a blank square) and realize that I am actually completely not struck by inspiration and have no desire at all to write. That actually has happened to me a few times, and it sucks when it does, but that’s all part of the process, I guess.

I do write more than it seems. I take copious notes about my every thought on my phone/iPod/mobile device. I write a lot of poetry, take notes for my novel and for story ideas, as well as write down angry rants about religion and culture and things that piss me off. I also take screenshots of stuff on Facebook that I always mean to come back and comment on and write a post about but never do. And nearly every single day, I think of something I should be writing in my blog.

But I just don’t do it. And there are many reasons. One is that I sit down fully intending to write (often coming to Starbucks, which is where I am right now), and then I get distracted for a few hours playing with music or watching videos and then I don’t feel like writing anymore. It’s worse if I try to do it at night, because I rarely feel like writing without some kind of daylight (although it is night time right now).

But that’s going to change. Writing is important to me, and it’s also very healthy for me, it keeps me happy and productive. If I’m writing about what I’m doing, I have a reason to be doing it. And that’s why I’ve come back. It’s not that I ever actually went away, I’ve always been writing, even with long dry spells in between posts, but by “come back” I mean I’m going to make a conscious effort to write a lot more. Maybe not every single day because I know that’s just not always going to be feasible, but on a regular basis, at least.

And with that, let’s dig in.

Where The Hell Have I Been?

My life has been crazy, to say the least. In early February I noticed pain in the back of my mouth, and without going into too many graphic details, it turned out I had a bone spur in my mouth, which was incredibly painful and really hindered my ability to go to work because when I wasn’t bedridden from pain, I was taking heavy duty medication that made me sleepy or goofy, so I ended up missing a bit of work because of it. At the same time, my stepdad, who works in Georgia, had to go to the hospital because he was sick at work. My mom packed a bunch of stuff, not knowing how long she’d be away in Georgia, and went up to see him.

While I was home alone, dealing with all the pain happening in my mouth, it turned out that my stepdad had cancer, and it was rapidly worsening. There wasn’t even time to begin chemotherapy, and it became quickly apparent that he was not going to make it much longer. So, a lot of family scrambled up to Georgia to see him, and he did in fact pass away in the hospital. This meant a whole lot of changes to our family and to our lives, and I wasn’t able to help as much as I wanted to because I was still suffering all this awful pain from this bone spur.

Well, the funeral came and went and my mom decided to move into an apartment for a little while with my sister, while my older brother and his wife were planning to move down here and stay in the house with me.

This is where one of my best friends comes in. His name is Jake, and I’ve known him for about three years. We have a very close friendship, and share a lot of the same interests and passions: we both play piano, we both make music, we’re both big fans of Tori Amos and Imogen Heap, and we both have dealt with psycho religious families who treat us like shit for being gay. I’ve wanted to help Jake get away from his family for a long time, but unfortunately the opportunity has never really been available.

Since I knew there would be an extra room available, I asked my mom if I could invite a roommate to stay with me and she said I could. After many days of going back of forth, Jake finally agreed to make this incredibly big decision in his life and leave his family to come stay with me. It was difficult for everyone involved. His family are very controlling and didn’t want to let him leave, so he basically had to spring it on them at the last minute. At the same time, I drove about six hours to come pick him up and then had to deal with his family questioning me and even threatening to call the police on me, before I finally got Jake in the car and we got away. Soon after we got home, he actually had to go back to his family for a week to get the rest of his things packed and see some family who was coming into town, and being away from him for so long was torture.

I guess I can’t really say Jake is my boyfriend, we haven’t made that kind of commitment, but I do love him a lot, and he is very important to me. Right now as I’m writing this, he’s sitting next to me at Starbucks working on schoolwork on his computer (okay I just glanced over and it looks like he’s reading a Wikipedia article but you get my point). Having Jake around is… it’s difficult to explain. I’ve spent three years dreaming and fantasizing about what it would be like to live with Jake, and now he’s right here. Even as I typed that sentence I felt a sudden rush of vertigo, like I was in the middle of a dream. Jake has lived with me for a couple of weeks now but I still haven’t gotten used to it. Every time I see him it’s like a happy surprise. A reminder that maybe sometimes in life, things do work out the way you want.

But I digress. Jake actually has a very good job waiting for him up in Washington DC this summer, so we’ve decided we’re going to move up there together. It’s scary and exciting and quite an adventure, but I’m ready for it. I think maybe everything I’ve done up until now has been building up to this. That’s why it’s so important for me to start writing again, and talking about what’s on my mind and what I’m doing. And on that note…

I’ve Actually Been Productive!

I started my Patreon about a year ago and honestly haven’t done much with it, apart from posting whatever I’ve been writing on my blog. A big part of this is because as a musician, I haven’t been able to do much in the way of recording. There is a piano at my family’s house but it’s out of tune and besides I only have one little USB microphone, which is not going to record even a decent quality audio. A lot of what I’ve been posting on Bandcamp has just been little snippets of sessions I’ve done late at night, and even a lot of that is improvised. It’s been very difficult to put together actual concrete songs.

However, now that Jake is here, all that’s changed. Jake actually has some knowledge about music production, as well as being a musician himself, and has the equipment to record using my keyboard. Now, my keyboard is a Kurzweil K1000, which is an instrument that was released somewhere around 1988, so it’s definitely more of a synthesizer than a real legitimate electric piano. As such, even though it has a lot of really cool sounds, a lot of them are somewhat dated, and the actual piano soundfonts are not really convincing enough to sound like a real piano. That being said, is still perfectly good to record demos with. I haven’t yet recorded any vocals but I have recorded a few very basic rough demos for some songs.

If you’re reading this on my Patreon, then you’re going to get your VERY FIRST PATREON MUSICAL RELEASE from me! Isn’t this exciting?? I’m certainly excited. Above is a picture of the little studio Jake and I have set up in his bedroom, with the piano being graced by the presence of a plush pig (I love pigs), an authentic poster promoting Imogen Heap’s very first show in the US during the I Megaphone era, and a painting done by my old roommate, which always makes me feel happy.

If you’re reading this on my blog, don’t feel bad, that’s where I’m actually writing this post in the first place. However, please consider heading over to Patreon and becoming my patron. It’s not that I want to be stingy with these songs, they’re just very rough demos and I want to finally be able to give something special to my patrons. All that being said, included with this post are three very quick little rough demos: one for a song called The Day I Met God, which I wrote the words and melody to years ago but which I only recently have tried writing actual music for. The second is for a song called Hate Crime, which was actually the first song I ever wrote back in 2007 when I was seventeen years old, an early version of which I played in my high school talent show. The third is just me fucking around with some of the string sounds on my keyboard and trying out what a possible string accompaniment to Hate Crime might sound like. All of these were recorded in one shot, and I haven’t edited out any of the obvious mistakes I made, which is why they’re called “rough demos” after all.

I’ve also just remembered to tell you all that today, Jake and I visited a music store, and I got to see a real life cello up close and personal for possibly the second time in my life (interestingly, the first time was at the very same music store, only it was in a different location then). There was a normal cello and then a MASSIVE one with this bright wood color, and I ran the bow across the strings and the sheer POWER of the thing was overwhelming. It’s like an orchestra all on it’s own. Just running a bow across those strings and feel the power of the cello was incredible, and it made me realize that I think I would really like to have a cello player to play alongside if I ever put together a band. Now that Jake and I are living together and working on music at the same time, I’m sure some collaborations will happen there as well. He did all the heavy lifting of setting up the recording and moving around files and such for you guys to be able to hear this, so if you like it, then you have him to thank!

There’s so much more to say. I want to talk all about how I want to really commit to getting fit and losing weight and being healthy, I want to talk about all the things that have been on my mind lately, things that make me happy and things that make me angry and things that inspire me, but for now, I think I’ll stop here. I hope you guys enjoy the songs and please feel free to let me know what you think or leave any comments you like. I’ll see you all soon!

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